Skip to content

Pilots teach endangered whooping cranes how to migrate

Click thumbnail for high-resolution image

dp_090217_crane_migration_001.jpg

Young whooping cranes follow their ultralight-aircraft leader learning how to migrate. (Courtesy of Operation Migration)

dp_090217_crane_migration_002.jpg

Young whooping cranes follow their ultralight-aircraft leader learning how to migrate. (Courtesy of Operation Migration)

Click for text-only story

Each year Joseph Duff dresses up like a bird, gets behind the controls of his ultralight plane and leads a group of endangered whooping cranes to the warmth of Florida. The 1,250-mile flights have taught ancient migration routes to dozens of birds raised in captivity. Scientists praise this unorthodox method to boost the wild population of a nearly extinct species. They say it's a rare example of man-made salvation amid the environmental destruction wrought by people.


back